PETA calls for Mike VI to be last live tiger mascot at LSU
BATON ROUGE - PETA and LSU Animal Advocates have sent a letter to the university Tuesday calling for Mike VI to be the final live tiger mascot at LSU.
On Monday, LSU released a statement and held a press conference reporting that the school’s sixth tiger mascot has been diagnosed with a rare form of terminal cancer.
In the letter, PETA says all captive big cats suffer psychologically when they are subjected to confinement, discomfort and stress. They also say LSU further damages the tiger by exposing the animal to bright lights and loud crowds at football games. The university noted Tuesday that Mike VI only appeared in Tiger Stadium for one game last season.
"People today realize that orcas don't belong in tanks, elephants don't belong in circuses, and tigers don't belong in cages in stadiums," says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. "PETA is calling on LSU to honor Mike VI and spare future tigers a lifetime of misery by ending the live-mascot program for good.”
PETA says that even though Mike may live in a nice habitat, the animal’s basic instincts are “thwarted in captivity.” The group says using live animals as mascots “perpetuates the cruel notion that sensitive, complex wild animals should be caged and put on display like championship trophies.”
“As Dr. Baker said yesterday, our primary concern right now is caring for Mike VI and making sure he gets the best possible medical treatment for his condition. This is not the time to discuss football season or a new tiger mascot. We are focused on Mike’s health and well-being at this time," said LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard.
News 2 reached out to the university for comment and we received the following response:
Reaction on social media from viewers was swift and strong with a seeming majority of WBRZ Facebook users opposing PETA: